Travel Weekly's Johanna Jainchill was on a two-day preview cruise aboard the Disney Dream, Disney Cruise Line's first newbuild in a decade. Her third and final dispatch follows.
Disney Dream, Dispatch 3: I know there are adults who travel alone on Disney cruise ships.
I just can’t imagine being one of them.
Disney ships, like Disney parks, is all Disney, all the time.
From the Disney showtunes in the hallways to the ubiquitous mouse ears to the Disney programming on cabin televisions, there are very few places on the ship where you can forget even for a second that this is a Disney product.
And that, of course, means there will always be a huge number of kids onboard a Disney cruise. Unlike other cruise ships, Disney counts the Dream’s capacity in upper berths because it expects most of them will be used.
There are adult-only spaces, but their diminutive size indicates that Disney didn’t think they needed much of it.
The adults-only pool area, adjacent to a grown-up bar and coffee shop, is a concept Disney started in the late 1990s with its first two ships, the Magic and the Wonder.
But the space isn’t much bigger on the Dream than on those smaller ships, as Dream passengers who have been on the other Disney ships noted. Because of scale, some said the Dream's adult pool area actually feels smaller.
Disney put a lot of thought into this ship. If it didn’t make the adults-only pool area bigger, it is probably because adults spend most of their time on the main pool deck with their kids.
Nighttime entertainment options and specialty restaurants are where the Dream really stepped it up for adults.
Travelers gave high marks to the District — five bars on Deck 4 cleverly clustered together to create an entertainment hub.
The District includes 687, a sports bar; Pink, a champagne lounge; a cocktail bar called Skyline where the "skyline" view changes every evening (we got New York, Rio and Paris); Evolution, a high-energy nightclub (with a very slippery dance floor); and the District Lounge, a low-key lounge that is a perfect meeting place before deciding which venue to hit first.
Adults can’t complain about dining. Disney’s signature alternative restaurant, Palo, has been joined by Remy on the Dream. Some were saying that Remy might be one of the finest restaurants at sea.
It’s still Disney, so it’s named for the star of "Ratatouille." A private room off the main restaurant space is decorated to look just like the animated film’s restaurant, Gusteau’s.
The three-hour dining experience (mine was closer to four) means that Remy does only one seating per night, and only for diners age 18 and above.
Remy is Disney’s answer to haute cuisine and celebrity chefs at sea.
At Remy, there are two chefs involved: Arnaud Lallement of l'Assiette Champenoise, a Michelin two-star restaurant outside of Reims, France, and AAA Five Diamond chef Scott Hunnel of Victoria & Albert's at Disney World's Grand Floridian Resort.
The chefs split the menu, enabling diners to choose one chef’s creations, or a combination of both.
Hunnel's dishes include smoked bison with fennel salad (the meat is smoked on the ship) and Australian Wagyu beef. Lallement serves airy gnocchi in a sauce made from vin jaune (a French white wine aged six years) and "Declinaison Tomate," tomatoes served four ways.
The experience is over the top. Japanese fashion designer Issey Miyake designed the Evian water bottle for Remy. The Taittinger champagne label is embossed with a picture of the ship.
Disney upped the ante not just with chefs but price. Remy carries a $75 cover charge, before wine. To do a wine pairing costs an additional $99, making Remy among the most expensive alternative dining options at sea.
But compared with the cost of eating at a Michelin two-star restaurant in France, it’s a bargain.
A few people dining at Remy said the meal was among the best they ever had. And these were seasoned travelers.
Remy has already proven to be popular — the restaurant is booked through March.